Getting accepted for a secured credit card puts you on the right path to building or rebuilding your credit history. These cards require a deposit, which usually indicates your credit line. However, the lender may also match your deposit to increase your overall available credit. Not all secured cards provide the same benefits, but they offer a way to improve your credit score when used responsibly.
The Top 5 Secured Credit Cards
1. Capital One Secured Card
This card provides all the benefits of a credit card without the annual or foreign transaction fees. Depending on your credit score, you may qualify for a $200 line of credit with just a $49 deposit. You can use the card at millions of locations throughout the world and qualify for a credit line increase with a good payment history. This card does, however, come with a 24.9 percent variable interest rate.
2. Discover It Secured Card
The Discover It card comes with the same rewards as the unsecured card. In addition, there's no annual fee to worry about. The 22.9 percent variable interest rate is slightly lower than the Capital One secured card, but you'll have to make a minimum $200 deposit to get started. Other benefits of the Discover It secured card include no annual fee and a free FICO score each month.
3. Secured Visa from Merrick Bank
Merrick Bank's secured Visa card gives you a free FICO score on each monthly statement and comes with no processing or application fees. Although it has a low 17.45 percent variable interest rate, you'll have to pay an annual fee up front. With this card, you get to choose your line of credit up to $3,000, so the more you deposit, the more credit you'll have.
4. Wells Fargo Secured Card
This card has a small annual fee, a foreign transaction fee and a returned or late payment fee. It also charges 5 percent or $5 for balance transfers. However, your credit limit is determined by your deposit up to $10,000. Wells Fargo checks your payment and credit histories periodically. With a good standing, you'll become eligible for an unsecured card and get a refund of your deposit.
5. OpenSky Secured Visa Card
Many lenders check your credit to see if you're eligible for a credit card. OpenSky doesn't check your credit history, so there's no worry about an inquiry affecting your overall score. You can choose your credit line up to $3,000 depending on your refundable security deposit. With a good payment history and credit standing, you can get approved for a $5,000 credit line increase. However, this card comes with a 17 percent annual percentage rate and an annual fee.
Tips for Building or Rebuilding Your Credit With a Secured Card
Most people use their credit cards like cash, paying for everything as they need it. This method will set you up for failure, a high balance and a poor debt-to-credit ratio. To build or rebuild your credit successfully, use your card for low-cost items only, such as gas for your car.
You can also use your secured card as a way to pay a bill automatically each month. For example, set your cable bill up for auto pay using your card. At the end of the month, just pay the balance on your credit card. You'll not only increase your credit score by paying your cable bill on time, but you'll also keep your debt-to-credit ratio low and improve your standing with the lender.